Is your coffee brand promise the right promise?

By Tom Dougherty

Small Kitchen Appliances and Coffee Makers

Mr_Coffee_Logo.svgSometimes, a company comes along that tries really hard to solidify its brand message in the respective marketplace. While we all might want to give them kudos for its hard work, we simply cannot allow ourselves if it’s not right. Often, despite its valiant efforts, companies are often still missing the branding target entirely. This often results in clichéd advertising or bland branding efforts (or worse, both).

Such is the case with Keurig’s latest television campaign. While thoughtful and simple, and one that contains all of the bells and whistles of a typical, plush coffee advertisement, Keurig has clearly missed the boat. And here is why.

Keurig and the coffee brand promise

First, let us think about the truly fantastic Keurig coffee-brewing machine. If you have never used one, these machines are sleek and metallic – a sturdy single cup coffee brewer. What’s more, the Keurig takes something called a K-Cup (or the Keurig-Cup), which is a small, vacuum-sealed pod of coffee.

keurigThese K-Cups come in 200 different varieties, featuring regular, iced and decaffeinated coffee blends, hot and iced teas, and hot chocolates to name a few, all produced by different companies (Tully, Green Mountain Coffee, Coffee People, etc.). Additionally, these K-Cups are fresh, and brewing them takes no time at all, seconds even. In fact, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have now introduced their own blends of K-Cups, recognizing their potential in the coffee industry. The market is getting huge, and it is shaping the way most of us have our coffee.

So, what makes the small kitchen appliance the Keurig Brewer and the K-Cup variety so very special? It’s easy. What the Keurig Brewer means to the consumer is a fantastic cup of coffee without the wait. It means quality, simplicity and speed. For the busy professional, those are massively important.

Is the K-cup the lead brand?

Dunkin-Donuts-Original-Blend-K-Cups-mdHere’s the problem. Keurig hasn’t recognized the importance of its product. Instead, with its latest advertising campaign, it has chosen to highlight the great variety of coffee pods (which is surely commendable), rather than the most important attribute brewing a K-Cup in a Keurig Brewer gives you, which is time.

Here is a snapshot of the campaign. We open on a handsome father looking around the kitchen, smiling at his daughter. He is at the family Keurig Brewer machine. Guess what he is doing? That’s right, happily making a cup of coffee for his wife. Not just any cup, the “perfect K-Cup.” A particular K-Cup of coffee that is her favorite blend. He gives her the cup of coffee and, as she has her first sip, all is great and wonderful with the world.

Keurig has rewritten the coffee maker category

Typical, isn’t it? We at Stealing Share find this type of work shameful. Why? Keurig is different and better than its competition, a powerful position to have in any marketplace, especially in one that isn’t letting up, like the coffee industry. Yet, its advertising and brand messaging is completely on the contrary. This is not revolutionary advertising (as is its product), but painfully mediocre work — rivaling the banal instant coffee commercials we have all come to hate. Worse yet, Keurig gains no ability to steal market share from its competition.

Based on this campaign alone, how is the small kitchen appliance represented through the Keurig brewer different from someone who uses a single, French Press coffee pot? Both maintain the ability to brewing a single cup of coffee with your bean blend of preference. And each makes a great cup of coffee.

The truth

However, truth be told, Keurig can make the same cup of coffee that a French Press can in about seven minutes less time. And it is just as good, if not better.

Now, isn’t that what’s worth celebrating?

We at Stealing Share fervently believe that such a message is worth celebrating. To steal market share, you must recognize what makes the customer who would prefer you different and reflect that. Advertising, such as the discussed Keurig campaign, is not great. Worse yet, this advertising does not steal market share and does not aid in Keurig’s advancement as a brand.

Visit Keurig by clicking here

 (Read about how to create preference in the packaged goods category here)